How £25m Arsenal target could be put to the sword by a former interest

Balotelli 2

Mario Balotelli comes up against Luis Suarez on Tuesday in a battle of past and present targets for Arsenal.

The Italy man has been widely linked with a big-money move to the Emirates Stadium this season, while Suarez was the infamous subject of Arsenal's interest last summer.

Balotelli may make the move this time around, but the Uruguayan is well and truly a case of what could have been.

As far as the World Cup is concerned, however, both are very much still in play, though one of them will likely suffer at the hands of the other when they square off tomorrow night.

It will be a straight shootout between Italy and Uruguay, with Costa Rica already through in Group D and England already out. Both nations have three points to their name and a win for either will take them through. A draw would mean Italian progress on goal difference.

But that is where these two come in - their country's leaders in attack and the men both sides will be looking to for goals.

  TeamPosGoalsShotsBig Chances MissedAerial Duels WonSuccessful Final-Third PassesDribbles WonTackles WonAppsMins
Luis Suarez Uruguay FW 2 4 0 0 7 0 1 1 88
Mario Balotelli Italy FW 1 7 1 1 7 3 0 2 163

As the stats show, both 23-year-old Balotelli and Suarez have proved themselves to a degree so far at this World Cup. One, however, has most definitely outshone the other.

Indeed, Liverpool man Suarez has double Balotelli's goals in half as many games and almost half as many shots. The Italian has also missed one big chance for the Italians compared to the clinical Suarez's none. The Uruguayan, meanwhile, has won one more tackle.

In Balotelli's defence, the AC Milan forward has won his country three points - with the header against England - and has shown more flair on the ball so far this World Cup.

But it is an uphill battle when comparing him to the more experienced Suarez, who enjoyed limited chances against the Three Lions but still ending up winning the game.

Should he do the same against Italy, it may serve as a reminder to the Gunners that their long-standing pursuit of a striker has seen them settle for second-best, as the 27-year-old was their ultimate target a year ago and could have made a huge difference to their side.

That said, Balotelli is four years Suarez's junior and has a promising career ahead of him despite already being vastly experienced. If the young Italian can produce a stellar performance against Uruguay, he'll be sending Suarez home early and taking this World Cup into his own hands.

It is all to play for.

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